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    Posted: February 14 2008 at 16:12
HAGGARD
 
Here's their PA bio:
 
BLACK SABBATH meets Johann Sebastian BACH? This may be a very loose description of the 16-member outfit from Munich, but the fact is their roots lie as much in death metal as in classical/medieval music. Their albums combine some fine classical moments (cello, flute, oboe, harp, violin as well as dreamy female vocals) with the iron riffs, growling male vocals and raw violence of death metal bands.

They have released a mini-CD in 1994 but fans of the genre have only praises for the subsequent two albums “And Thou Shalt Trust… the Seer” (97) and “Awaking the Centuries” (00), both featuring heavy gothic themes yet beautiful melodies – both deal with the forecasts of Nostradamus. “Eppur Si Muove”, released in 2004, still features wonderful musical moments but is more vocally oriented and the growling is a bit overdone, overshadowing/marring the beauty of the music. If you want to wallow in “domesday” fantasy, then HAGGARD will certainly transport you to other times in grand fashion and with stunning sonics.

Fans of THERION or melodic death metal in general will certainly want to check them out.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :
 
 
 
 
 
 
Haggard's Myspace bio:
 
Haggard express her piercing scream in their equally sinister grunts, accompanied by a heavy guitar and drum thunder – the pain of the damned girl turns into a powerful musical storm. Only a moment later, all metallic harshness melts away as tender strings and the lovely sound of a harp symbolise the bitter crying of those who mourn the life of the damned. Like no other band, Haggard succeed in turning moods, feelings and stories into emotional sonic landscapes. At the same time, the band from Munich demand their listeners' full attention, seducing them to drift away on a stream of magnificent melodies, tender emotions and brutal violence.

Starting out as an experimental death metal quartet in 1991, Haggard embarked on a classical course only four years later, enlisting a violinist, a cellist, a soprano and a piano player as permanent band members. With the help of these new instruments, it was possible for Asis Nasseri, Haggard's intellectual founding father and inspirational source, to realise his ideas and dreams even more tangibly – which resulted in an impressive 16-piece orchestra by the time the group's debut album "And Thou Shalt Trust ... The Seer" arrived at the stores in 1997. Despite their classical leanings, the band never strayed far from their death metal roots, interweaving both genres successfully and arriving at a creative mosaic of orchestral metal. From the beginning, Haggard knew how to make the most of the musical scope offered by an orchestra in combination with tough guitar sections and pounding drums, reflected in their catchy and at the same time complex compositions – numerous breaks take their audience on a unique sonic path, guiding them through a spring tide of emotions, a fever of passion.

When it comes to their vocals, Haggard also rely on the antagonistic interplay between Asis Nasseri's sinister grunts and the filigree classical voices of two sopranos, not only to evoke a goosepimple atmosphere but also to narrate a gripping story in a credible and convincing manner. Their debut was based on a storyline, as was their second, equally successful album, "Awaking The Centuries". Even more mature and expertly produced, Haggard raised the French astrologer, Michel de Notredame – better known under the name of Nostradamus –, from his gloomy prophecies, breathing a mythical, sonic spark into his lyrical visions, releasing an energy that even touched the New World. Two major tours took the group as far as Mexico, where the legendary Haggard atmosphere was captured on their DVD, "Awaking The Gods".

On "Eppur Si Muove" (Italian for "and it (Planet Earth) does move"), Haggard, who now encompass 20 band members, concentrate on the historic figure of Galileo Galilei, inviting their audience to a third journey into the past. In the 16th century, the Italian philosopher and mathematician, Galileo, challenged the Roman Catholic Church's geocentric conception of the world, claiming that the earth rotates around the sun, and not vice versa. Like everybody who opposed God's truth, he was sentenced by the Church for his blasphemy.

Following a sabbatical of three years, Haggard have returned to transform their ideas into a vibrant, even more vivid epic: their linguistic authenticity is reinforced by the use of Italian, German, Latin, and English lyrics, the sonic picture is refined by an expanded instrumentation including a grand piano, and the compositions are even more straightforward, pithy and driving without losing their familiar playfulness.

Galileo's story of dreams, faith, belief, hope, humiliation and heresy takes on a breathtaking musical life of its own, full of power and fragility, emotiveness and sensitivity, brute force and tenderness, and last but not least full of independence. Like Galileo, Haggard have always believed in themselves, following their own aspirations and ideals.

Peter Sailer

 
 
 
 
Let me recommend you the album And Thou Shalt Trust.....the Seer from 1997.
 
The reviews here in PA:
 
 Marcelo
(Marcelo Matusevich)
PROG REVIEWER
4%20stars I'm not a heavy metal or gothic customer, but I acquired this cd because called my attention the Haggard number of members and the instruments -like cello, oboe, harp, violin, etc.- they played... Well, what a nice surprise! The mixture of medieval, baroque, heavy and gothic made a real impact on me. Similar style like Tristania, After Forever or Theatre of Tragedy (called "The Beauty and The Beast", with the female beautiful voice contrasting male growlings), but much more classical music orientated, and with an impressive variety of instruments. Along only 41 minutes, we can find some heavy themes (don't be afraid, they fit perfectly in the whole opus) and absolutely medieval tracks, plenty of beauty. Despite the growlings (after all, they aren't excessives), here we have a magnificent and original album. Recommended for all progressive ears, specially for those who love heavy or gothic bands with classical influences like Therion or Lacrimosa.

Posted Saturday, February 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
 Gatot
(Gatot Widayanto)
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5%20stars NOTHING LIKE IT …!!!

Let me clarify my position on giving rating to prog bands in this site. I have used certain criteria on reviewing any prog album, ie. : composition (structure and songwriting), musicianship, production (sonic quality, mixing, packaging, etc), and performance (delivery). I have used certain standards by which each criterion can be categorized as masterpiece, excellent, good etc. A masterpiece is a masterpiece and an excellent is an excellent, etc. I don’t mind if at the end of the review I have given many five stars (masterpiece) if they really fulfill the criteria. Just be it, because they deserve five stars. I don’t want to limit using a kind of “forced ranking” in typical corporate world of categorizing employees performance. I don’t want to limit my review with “five stars must be very few” paradigm because it’s gonna kill music. That’s my stand-point. If the album deserves five stars, I will firmly say so.

This album from Germany’s band HAGGARD deserves full five stars as when I reviewed using all the criteria, they fulfill all of them as masterpiece work. It has a very tight structure and powerful songwriting combining metal and classical music perfectly. On judging this criterion, I may have been biased as this blend of music is the kind that I have always wanted to hear: a balance between heavy (metal) and soft (classical) music. What an excellent harmony. On musicianship I have found the band has a perfect balance between modern electrical instrument skills as well as those acoustic ones: cellos, oboe, flute, piano, violins, etc. Production is also excellent. The musicians perform their contribution flawlessly. The other real fact: I never get bored listening to this CD and also their live video. The first time I got this CD in 1999 – it was hooked to my CD player for nearly four weeks. The first time I spun the CD, I got problem with the growling style of male singer. But, I tried to respect musician’s freedom in this case. Just be it and I finally enjoyed this album in its entirety.

The album comprises five chapters with eight digital tracks:

Chapter I comprises one track “The Day as Heaven Wept” (5:46) starts off with presumably a classical outfit featuring classical guitar, flute and clavinet works with catchy melody, nice harmony. Violin and cello follow as background music. Female voice enters wonderfully in alternate with low register notes male voice and wonderful orchestra followed with stunning piano work. Oh my God … what a catchy classical music melody this part is! The theatrical voice of male singer follows nicely, backed with excellent light orchestra. The male voice turns growling with dynamic drumming and guitar riffs reminiscent of Tony Iomi’s (Black Sabbath). This part demonstrates a nice blend between heavy and soft aspects of music with some sudden style change. The female voice (reminiscent of Renaissance’s Annie Haslam?) has created gothic metal nuance. This Chapter I flows seamlessly to Chapter II with little attention from listener that it’s already in Chapter II.

Chapter II comprises two parts “Origin of a Crystal Soul” (5:57) and “ Requiem in D-Minor” (2:09). The first part opens with an electric guitar work augmented beautifully with melodic flute sound and piano, while keyboard fills in the background music. It flows with a female voice line, continues later with music riffs and dazzling drums. Classical music and metal are blended and mixed wonderfully through this track. Those who favor nice melody with classical touch would enjoy the middle of this track where classical piano solo followed nicely with guitar riffs and growl. WOW! Really great! Part 2 “Requiem in D-Minor” as the name implies is basically an instrumental piece; purely classical music featuring flute / oboe and light orchestra. Wonderful composition!

Chapter III comprises two digital tracks: “In a Pale’s Moon Shadow” (9:38) and “Cantus Firmus in A-Minor “(2:32). The first part starts with an excellent choirs combined with guitar riffs and pondering drums augmented with some beautiful breaks with piano and light orchestra. Oh my God .. this is truly an adrenalin exploding track! It kills me really! I even enjoyed the combination of growling and classical music with heavy guitar riffs. The harmony produced from a marriage between violin, cello, flutes / oboe and heavy metal riffs plus growling is wonderful and has stimulated me to repeat this track over and over. Especially, when the orchestra part plays staccato using violin and cello. Female and male vocals are used proportionally in this track. The second part “Cantus Firmus in A-Minor “ is another classical music exploration by the band. A very good one and it serves nicely as a break after heavy stuffs.

Chapter IV “De La Morte Noire” (8:02) begins with a beautiful marriage between classical piano and heavy music riffs. The melody is steered by piano with some augmentation of oboe and light orchestra. The music turns into faster tempo by the time the male voice line enters the music augmented with female backing vocals. It suddenly turns into quiet passage where simple piano touch fills the music followed with melodic light orchestra. Acoustic guitar also plays during transitions. Oh man … you got to experience yourself with this track! Yeah, GET THE CD now! You won’t regret at all! Awesome.

Chapter V comprises two parts: “Lost (Robin's song)” (4:25) and “Outro: A Midnight Gathering” (2:59) . The first part is a another nice combination of heavy and soft where classical guitar plays as rhythm section featuring male and female singers – all are backed with melodic light orchestra using violin, cello and oboe. Sometimes, the acoustic guitar part reminds me to Steve Hackett’s work even though it’s played with different style. The Outro part is basically the band’s exploration using percussion as main rhythm section. It’s totally different style of music compared to other tracks.

SUMMARY

I don’t think it’s summarize-able. This album deserves novel-long review. It’s an absolute five stars rating. You must GET THIS CD! Keep on proGGiN’ ..!

Progressively yours,

GW



Posted Monday, May 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
 hdfisch
(Dieter Fischer)
PROG REVIEWER
4%20stars Actually what else could I add to these excellent two reviews,especially by Gatot?Bravo, very well written! I've got this CD since a couple of years in my collection in fact and during the time I purchased it I was admittedly deeply into this kind of mix between of gothic metal and classical music. But I've to say after all these years this album didn't lose any attraction for me and I can still fully enjoy it nowadays when my interests are focused elsewhere. My first introduction with Haggard I had in 2001 with "Awakening The Centuries" and soon after I purchased this one here, their first full-length album which is most probably their best and most elaborate work. Just looking at the list of contributing musicians is already highly impressing, one could easily call them a "Ba-Rock Orchestra" instead of a rock band! This is a highly talented and very little known bunch of musicians and just the fact that they're coming (once again) from my home town is keeping me off rating this album with the full score since it might look biased. But there's no other way than rating this work as an excellent one which means 4 stars.

Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by avestin - February 14 2008 at 16:13
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 15 2008 at 08:36
This many fans? :-)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2008 at 03:43

I purchased their newest album, I believe, through your suggesting. From the very little I heard, they sound pretty good, and looking forward to it when it comes in.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2008 at 06:07
Haggard are a superb band - I had the immense pleasure of seeing them at last years ProgPowerUK and they were easily one of the top three bands of that event for me (the others being Jon Oliva and the woefully under-appreciated Communic). Although Therion comparisons abound for them, it was the similarities to Gryphon's baroque medievalness blended in with the crunchy death metal and classical layering of the 'orchestra'  that appealed to me. Many reviews mention the death growls and wonderful twin soprano voices but few remark on the excellent sonorous tenor (from Fiffi Fuhrmann?) that is sadly underused but a refreshing departure from bog-standard Gothic Metal vocals.
not to be confused with:
Robbie%20Coltrane%20as%20the%20gamekeeper,%20Hagrid


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2008 at 07:00

I have Waves of Visual Decay by Communic. I haven't given Communic an honest chance yet. After you mentioning them, I think I'll try them again. They have been at a far corner of my collection for a while.

But hopefully Haggard will come in the coming Monday.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2008 at 07:20
Originally posted by SpaceMonkey SpaceMonkey wrote:

I have Waves of Visual Decay by Communic. I haven't given Communic an honest chance yet. After you mentioning them, I think I'll try them again. They have been at a far corner of my collection for a while.

But hopefully Haggard will come in the coming Monday.

Communic have one of the most aggressive heavy-hitting drummers I've ever seen - he beats the living daylights out of that kit.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2008 at 07:28

^^Is WoVD one of their better albums or is there another that shows the potential a lot more?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2008 at 07:29
^ it's the only one I've got/heard, so I cannot say.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2008 at 08:16
Originally posted by darqDean darqDean wrote:

Haggard are a superb band - I had the immense pleasure of seeing them at last years ProgPowerUK and they were easily one of the top three bands of that event for me (the others being Jon Oliva and the woefully under-appreciated Communic).
 
Oh, you were there, were you??  and witnessed their 25 minutes?  personally, I wasn't that impressed, but maybe I should give them more time and listens...
 
...I thought Communic were good, but for me, the day was owned by Kamelot...ClapClapClap
February's Listens:
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2009 at 22:04
How is their 2008 release? Haven't heard it and was thinking if it's worth getting?


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2009 at 22:25
Have only heard Thou Shalt Seer, which though is refreshingly different from most of the gothic/symphonic metal acts I have heard and at at least to me sounds more authentic and engaging.  Highly recommended from my side.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2009 at 10:44
I got their album "Awakening the centuries" (or something like that) for few months now. It is insane in a funny way. Not very complicated I must admit. I find it as a modern psychadelia album. Worth hearing but not a masterpiece.
omri
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2009 at 13:29
''Eppur Si Muove''  is  pure masterpiece. i love this album. it is a gift from gods. Awaking The Centuries is also good, but not essential. And Thou Shall Trust...The Seer has some doomy moments, but still ok, Tales Of Itheria  -satisfactory.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2009 at 22:28
Originally posted by angelmk angelmk wrote:

''Eppur Si Muove''  is  pure masterpiece. i love this album. it is a gift from gods. Awaking The Centuries is also good, but not essential. And Thou Shall Trust...The Seer has some doomy moments, but still ok, Tales Of Itheria  -satisfactory.


I see.
Of the three previous releases of theirs I have, And Thou Shall Trust is my favourite... but if I go by the logic that I like what you least like, I'm afraid of falling into the trap that their most recent album is a sort of contiuation of Eppur which I wasn't too fond of...
Ok, I'll see if I can sample some full songs from it first.

Thanks everyone for your posts.

(שלום עמרי)


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 04 2009 at 08:39
Originally posted by avestin avestin wrote:

Originally posted by angelmk angelmk wrote:

''Eppur Si Muove''  is  pure masterpiece. i love this album. it is a gift from gods. Awaking The Centuries is also good, but not essential. And Thou Shall Trust...The Seer has some doomy moments, but still ok, Tales Of Itheria  -satisfactory.


I see.
Of the three previous releases of theirs I have, And Thou Shall Trust is my favourite... but if I go by the logic that I like what you least like, I'm afraid of falling into the trap that their most recent album is a sort of contiuation of Eppur which I wasn't too fond of...
Ok, I'll see if I can sample some full songs from it first.

Thanks everyone for your posts.

(שלום עמרי)



,Tales Of Itheria is very similar to Eppur.heavy, massive riffs, some aggression here and there,, not a bad album, But man, you should listen Eppur   couple of more times, and you'll see that it is great achievement, blisfull music. listen ''Per Aspera Ad Astra ''   ''Of A Might Divine ''  i've heard those two song 100000 times so far... ''Herr Mannelig'' is very good cover from ald sweedish folk song, and ir sounds cool . ... 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 04 2009 at 10:23
Originally posted by angelmk angelmk wrote:

 

,Tales Of Itheria is very similar to Eppur.heavy, massive riffs, some aggression here and there,, not a bad album, But man, you should listen Eppur   couple of more times, and you'll see that it is great achievement, blisfull music. listen ''Per Aspera Ad Astra ''   ''Of A Might Divine ''  i've heard those two song 100000 times so far... ''Herr Mannelig'' is very good cover from ald sweedish folk song, and ir sounds cool . ... 

I did listen to it (Eppur) several times to give it a fair "chance" and to see if my impressions were correct and not much enjoyment did I get from it. So I guess I'll pass on this latest release.

Thanks


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 05 2009 at 16:46
Could never heard a connection with prog...Sorry guys, but really disgusting band for me. That cliche "Beauty and The Beast" scheme never worked for me... My brother loves this band indeed, so I've heard all their stuff
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